Sutherland shire biodiversity strategy 0 introduction

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1.1 What is Biodiversity?

1.2 The Value of Biodiversity

1.3 Threats to Biodiversity

    1. Australia’s Biodiversity

    2. Biodiversity in New South Wales

1.6 Biodiversity in the Sutherland Shire

1.7 Sutherland Shire Council’s Role in Managing Biodiversity

1.8 Integration with Other Agencies

1.9 Goal

2.1 Objectives

2.2 Habitat Types of the Shire

2.3 Habitat Protection Legislation

2.4 Council’s Role


3.1 Objectives

3.2 Habitat Corridors in the Sutherland Shire

3.3 Legislation Protecting Habitat Corridors

3.4 Council’s Role

4.1 Objectives

4.2 The Shire’s Threatened Species

4.3 Threatened Species Legislation

4.4 Council’s Role

5.1 Objectives

5.2 Exotic Species of the Sutherland Shire

5.2.1 Weeds

5.2.2 Feral Animals

5.3 Exotic Species Legislation

5.4 Council’s Role

6.1 Objectives

6.2 Bushfire Communities in the Sutherland Shire

6.3 Bushfire Legislation

6.4 Council’s Role

1.1 What is Biodiversity?
Biodiversity is a term used to describe the variety of living things: including plants, animals and micro-organisms: the genetic material contained within these organisms; and the ecosystems in which they live. Biodiversity is usually considered on three levels, genetic diversity, species diversity and ecosystem diversity.
Genetic Diversity - refers to the variations in the genetic material within a species. Genetic diversity gives rise to variations between individuals of the same species and accounts for things such as why some people have blue eyes and others have brown eyes. A pool of genetic material within a species helps enable the species to adapt to changes in the environment.
Species Diversity - refers to the variety of living species, and is generally the level at which biodiversity is considered. This is because species are a more easily defined unit, and accord with the way organisms are generally classified. There are many species that are still to be identified and named.

Only about 1.7 million of the estimated 5 to 100 million species in existence have been identified to date (NSW EPA 1994)

Ecosystem Diversity - refers to the variety of different habitats in which species and communities exist, and includes ecosystems such as Eucalypt woodlands and rainforests. Ecosystem diversity is harder to define than species diversity or genetic diversity as the boundaries between ecosystems are not clearly defined.

1.2 The Value of Biodiversity
Humans are dependent on biological systems for their health, well-being and enjoyment of life. All our food and many of our medicines and industrial products are derived from wild and domesticated components of the Earth’s biological diversity (Department of the Environment Sport and Territories (DEST) 1993).
Biodiversity has many environmental, social and economic benefits, as shown below. These reasons combined with other values such as ethical considerations and our duty to other life forms, aesthetics, and the avoidance of rising costs to repair degraded ecosystems, provide a powerful case for the conservation of biodiversity (ANZECC 1994).
The need to preserve biodiversity is also a key component in achieving ecologically sustainable development and is one of the three core objectives of the national Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development (ANZECC 1994).

The Value of Biodiversity

* Protection of water resources.

* Soil formation and protection.

* Nutrient storage and cycling.

* Pollution breakdown and absorption.

* Increased biodiversity helps recovery from unpredictable events.


* Research and education.

* Recreation.

* Cultural values.


* Food production.

* Medical resources.

* Wood and timber production.

* Ornamental plants and gardens.

* Breeding stock and population reservoirs.

Source: Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories (1993).

1.3 Threats to Biodiversity
Biodiversity declines when individual species become extinct and when the variety within a species is reduced. Plant and animal extinctions do occur naturally, but the rate of extinctions has risen dramatically in recent times. Species are now being lost at a rate some 400 times faster than at any other period during recent geological time (Goldsmith & Hildyard 1993), with Australia having one of the highest rates of extinctions in the world (EPA 1994).

The rate of mammal extinctions for Australia is the highest in the world, accounting for nearly half of all mammal extinctions. Australia also has one of the highest rates of plant extinctions (NSW EPA 1994).

The main threat to biodiversity in Australia comes from habitat loss and alteration, due to clearing for agricultural, urban and industrial development. Other factors impact and alter the environment resulting in species loss, these include, logging, prescribed burning, road construction, cultivation, grazing and pollution. The introduction of exotic plant and animal species have also resulted in the loss of species through direct predation, competition and displacement of native species.

1.4 Australia’s Biodiversity
Australia remains one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world (NSW EPA 1995). The isolation of our continent for much of our evolutionary history has meant that a high proportion of the organisms found in Australia are found nowhere else in the world.

At the species level, approximately:

* 92% of our mammals,

* 70% of our birds,

* 85% of our flowering plants,

* 89% of our reptiles, and

* 93% of our frogs

are found only in Australia (NSW EPA 1995).

This high level of biodiversity places a responsibility on Australian’s to manage and conserve this biodiversity. In order to help meet these obligations, Australia became a signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity, at the Rio Earth Summit on 5 June 1992, and ratified (adopted) it at home on 18 June 1993 (DEST).

1.5 Biodiversity in New South Wales
New South wales contains a wide variety of ecosystem types, ranging from arid zones, to alpine regions and rainforests. This variety of ecosystems supports a large range of biodiversity. However this diversity is under pressure from a range of activities. The NSW State of the Environment Report 1997 notes the main threats as:

  • Habitat loss and fragmentation

  • Impacts of introduced species

  • Unsustainable use of resources

  • Pollution impacts

  • Global climate change and ozone depletion

  • Lack of knowledge, education and communication.

In NSW in the past 200 years:

* 22% of our mammals have become extinct, and a further 41.5% are considered threatened.

* 2% of our birds have become extinct and a further 17% are considered threatened.

* No reptiles are considered extinct but 6.5% are considered under threat.

* One amphibian species is considered extinct and 20% are considered threatened.

* 3 species of fish are endangered and 11 species threatened.

Source: NSW EPA 1994.

1.6 The Sutherland Shire’s Biodiversity
The Sutherland Shire is located on the southern outskirts of Sydney. It is a region rich in biodiversity. The Shire contains a variety of ecosystem types, including marine and freshwater wetlands, woodlands, heathlands, forests, rainforests and dunal communities. These ecosystems support a diverse array of plants and animals, including many rare and endangered species.

The Shire is a species diverse area containing many threatened species. While a complete inventory of the shires biota has not been completed current minimum figures are:

* 56 species of regionally significant or threatened plants.

* 253 species of birds of which 24 are threatened.

* 41 species of mammals of which 17 are threatened.

* 76 species of reptiles and amphibians of which 10 are threatened.
Source: Sutherland Shire Council 1995.

Large areas of the Shire are maintained in their natural state, with over 200 km2 of the Shire’s 370 km2, or 54%, being contained in some form of park or reserve system. This represents a significant proportion of the remaining, unique Hawkesbury Sandstone biota. The Sutherland Shire therefore has a special role to play in conserving biodiversity on a regional, state and national level.

1.7 Management of Biodiversity in the Sutherland Shire
There are a number of key players in the management of biodiversity in the Sutherland Shire. We are fortunate in having an extensive reserve system of National Parks (Royal, Heathcote, Georges River, Botany Bay) and Nature Reserves (Towra) that are managed by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. Extensive natural lands are also managed by the Department of Land and Water Conservation. These Agencies, along with Council, have an obligation to manage these lands in a integrated and sustainable manner.
Sutherland Shire Council is committed to the principles of ecologically sustainable development of which conservation of biodiversity is one of the key components. The importance of the role of local governments in conserving biodiversity is acknowledged in the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment (Commonwealth of Australia 1993).
Local Government has a key role to play in the conservation of biodiversity, for a number of reasons:
1) Councils are responsible for the care, control and management of significant areas of land and water, and can therefore implement management practices for these areas which support biodiversity;
2) Councils carry out many activities, such as fire hazard reduction, road and other construction, which may adversely impact on biodiversity;
3) Councils are the determining authority for the majority of private development which may directly or indirectly impact on biodiversity.
4) Councils have the ability to influence community behaviour through public education and awareness campaigns on the value of biodiversity (The Council of the Municipality of Kiama 1995).
5) Councils have the ability to identify and assess change in the environment through environmental monitoring and State of the Environment Reporting.
6) Councils are key stakeholders on regional management bodies, such as Catchment Management Committees, and Regional Organisation of Councils, where conservation of biodiversity is discussed.

Biodiversity is a key consideration in the following Council policies and documents.

* Sutherland Local Environment Plan 1993, eg Clause 24 Urban Bushland.

* Plan of Management for Natural Areas.

* Tree Preservation Order.

* State of the Environment Report 1995.

* Sutherland Shire Urban Bushland Plan of Management 1990.

* Sutherland Shire Urban Tree Policy 1991.

The biodiversity of the Shire is under threat from increased human activity, such as urbanisation, pollution, tree removal and recreational pressures. This policy recognises the need to coordinate and manage the activities of Council and the community in order to conserve the Shire’s biodiversity.

This policy considers the management of biodiversity in five key areas:
1) habitat protection
2) habitat corridors
3) threatened species
4) management and control of exotic species, and
5) bushfire management
These areas overlap, are complementary and must be integrated to achieve the goals of biodiversity conservation. For instance, preserving an endangered species may involve: the preservation of its habitat; the control of exotic species which compete with it for resources or prey on it; the maintenance or establishment of a system of corridors to enable it to find breeding partners; and the management of fire regimes to ensure that vulnerable populations are not destroyed by too few or too frequent fires.
In recognition of the need to consider impacts and coordinate activities beyond our Shire boundaries, this strategy compliments regional, state and national strategies, such as the National Strategy for the Conservation of Australia’s Biodiversity., NSW Biodiversity Strategy and the Green Web Sydney – A Vegetation Management Plan for the Sydney Region.

Principles of the National Strategy for the Conservation of Australia’s Biological Diversity (1996), include:

  1. Biological diversity is best conserved in situ.

  2. Cooperation between governments and the community is critical to the conservation of biodiversity.

  3. It is vital to anticipate and prevent the causes of significant reductions in biodiversity.

  4. Decisions relating to the allocation and use of resources should be efficient, equitable and transparent.

  5. Lack of full knowledge should not be an excuse for postponing action to conserve biodiversity (precautionary principle).

  6. The establishment of a comprehensive, representative and adequate system of ecologically viable protected areas, and the sympathetic management of other areas is central to the conservation of biodiversity.

  7. Traditional links between indigenous people and biodiversity should be recognised.

This Biodiversity Strategy identifies three key roles of Council in managing the biodiversity resources of the:

1) as a manager of land under its care, control and management, and
2) as an approval authority.
3) as an educator and information provider for the community.

1.8 Integration with Other Agencies

There are several parts of the Sutherland Shire where Council has a secondary management role, such as Royal, Heathcote and Botany Bay National Parks and the Towra Point nature reserve. In these areas the role of Council will be as a support role, and in ensuring that the activities of Council and those approved by Council complement the conservation measures in areas adjoining these nature reserves.

The NSW Government has recently released the NSW Biodiversity Strategy. This document aims at coordinating various statewide stakeholders in the conservation and management of biodiversity of NSW. While the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) will be responsible for administering the Strategy it outlines a number of key actions required to achieve the objectives of the Strategy.
Council is identified as a key stakeholder in the management of biodiversity in NSW and has been allocated a number of actions in the Strategy. These actions have been integrated into Sutherland Shire Council’s Biodiversity Strategy
The Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils has also developed “A Vegetation Management Plan for the Sydney Region”. This Plan recognises the key role of Council’s as managers of biodiversity. It contains a range of actions and recommendations for Sydney Councils to follow, to ensure consistent and effective approach to vegetation management.
Catchment Management Committees also lay an important role in integrating catchment practices across Council boundaries, this includes management that impacts on biodiversity. The Hacking River Catchment Management Committee has been active in coordinating biodiversity surveys throughout the catchment, providing a sound information base on which to make management decisions. A similar approach and survey is planned for the Georges River catchment.
To ensure an integrated and holistic approach to the management of biodiversity both within and beyond the Sutherland Shire, this strategy integrates the recommendations from these federal state and local strategies into a defined strategy for the Sutherland Shire.

1.8 GOAL
The goal of this strategy is to preserve and maintain biodiversity, both within and outside the Sutherland Shire, consistent with the principles of ecologically sustainable development.

2.1 Objective
* To retain bushland in parcels of a size and configuration which will enable the existing plant and animal communities to survive in the long term.
* To protect the habitats of native flora and fauna, including threatened species.
* To protect wildlife corridors and vegetation links with other bushland.
* To protect bushland as a natural stabiliser of the soil surface, and protect existing landforms such as natural drainage lines, water courses and foreshores.
* To protect bushland of scenic value and retain the unique visual character of the landscape.
* To protect the recreational and educational value of bushland.
* To encourage and promote community involvement and cooperation in the management of the Shire’s bushland.

2.2 Habitat Types of the Shire
The Sutherland Shire contains a wide range of natural areas that comprise a variety of habitat types. Each of these habitat types contain a diverse range of species, and together they help make the Sutherland Shire one of the most biologically diverse areas of the Sydney Basin. The preservation of each of these habitat types are essential to the overall preservation of the Shire’s biodiversity.
Habitat types are usually classified according to the vegetation type. This is because they are the dominant lifeforms in the community, and accompanying assemblages of lesser plants and animals tend to be dependant on the dominant vegetation.
The following table summarises the dominant vegetation types of the Sutherland Shire.


Location and abundance

Species present

Tall Open Forest

The broad Wianamatta shale-capped ridge which extends from Lucas Heights to Alfords Point and similar ridges in Engadine and Heathcote, would have supported Turpentine-Ironbark forest prior to development, however this plant association is now extremely rare, the only fragments remaining in Menai. A rare variation occurs in an isolated stand at East Heathcote.

Dominant canopy species Turpentine (Syncarpia glomulifera), Grey Ironbark (Eucalyptus paniculata), Sydney Blue Gum (Eucalyptus saligna)

Closed Forest

This type is restricted to sheltered steeper gullies on deeper alluvial soils. There are pockets in the Woronora Valley, Prince Edward Park and the Royal National Park.

Coachwood (Ceratopetalum apetalum), Christmas Bush (Ceratopetalum gummiferum), Black Wattle (Callicoma serratifolia), River Lomatia (Lomatia myricoides)

Low Woodlands

This Hawkesbury Sandstone ridgetop ecosystem is rapidly disappearing in urban areas due to development pressures, however it is well represented in the Royal National Park

Canopy species include Scribbly Gum (Eucalyptus haemastoma), Red Bloodwood (Eucalyptus gummifera), with a shrub cover including Heath Banksia (Banksia ericifolia), Dwarf Apple (Angophora hispida) Dagger Hakea (Hakea teretifolia), Bushy Needlebush (Hakea sericea). This diverse ecosystem also supports a number of rare and endangered species, including Scaly Bark (Eucalyptus squamosa), Darwinia diminuta and Yellow-top Mallee (Eucalyptus luehmanniana)


On nutrient-poor, sandy soils of Hawkesbury sandstone soil landscape. These communities are well represented in the Shire’s National Parks and Crown Lands and comprise most of the area’s remaining natural vegetation. There are also areas of remnant woodland on some north-facing slopes of Kareela, Oyster Bay, Como, and Bonnet Bay

Canopy of Scribbly Gum (Eucalyptus haemastoma), Sydney Red Gum (Angophora costata) Old Man Banksia (Banksia serrata) and Red Bloodwood (Eucalyptus gummifera) with a diverse shrub layer


Heathland replaces woodland on nutrient-poor, sandy soils where drainage is impeded or on coastal headlands where shallow soils and salt-laden winds stunt growth

Heath Banksia (Banksia ericifolia), Tea Tree (Leptospermum spp.) Coastal Rosemary (Westringia fruticosa), Dwarf Apple (Angophora hispida), Dagger Hakea (Hakea teretifolia)

Open Forest

Open forest occurs on east- or south-facing slopes, along drainage lines or in places with deeper, though nutrient-poor, sandy soils

Dominant canopy species; Smooth-barked Apple (Angophora costata), Sydney Peppermint (Eucalyptus piperita) Grey Gum (Eucalyptus punctata), Bangalay (Eucalyptus botryoides)

Littoral Rainforest

In moister coastal areas within Royal National Park and Towra Point Nature Reserve. Poorly represented outside of these areas however small remnants exist at Lilli Pilli Point, Burraneer Point, Darook Park, Grays Point and Yowie Bay.

Dominant canopy species; Celerywood (Polyscias elegans), Red-fruited Olive Plum (Cassine australis), Sarcomelicope simplicifolia, Corkwood (Endiandra seiberi). These remnants contain examples of the rare and endangered Magenta Lillypilly (Syzygium paniculatum) Blue Lillypilly (Syzygium oleosum) Deciduous Fig (Ficus superba var henneana) and Celtis paniculata

Sub-tropical Rainforest

In moist protected gullies. Several areas in Upper Hacking and tributaries. Elements of these forests found in Ewey Creek, and Gymea Bay

Dominant canopy species; Crab Apple (Schizomeria ovata), Coachwood (Ceratopetalum apetalum) Lilly Pilly (Acmena smithii) and the less common Ribbonwood (Euroschinus falcata)

Dunal Communities

On the sand dunes of the Kurnell Peninsula and north eastern areas of the RNP. Areas with deeper soils support open forest with heathland on more exposed dunes. These communities are diminishing with increased activity on the peninsula.

Dominant canopy species; She-Oak (Casuarina glauca), Red Bloodwood (Eucalyptus gummifera), Scribbly Gum (Eucalyptus haemastoma), Smooth- barked Apple (Angophora costata) Coastal Banksia (Banksia integrifolia)

Estuarine Communities

The silt/clay sediments which occur along the Georges River support saltmarsh on the landward side of the mangroves. The only large expanse of saltmarsh still remaining in Sydney occurs at Towra Point, however small fragile pockets also exist in Oyster Bay, Coronation Bay and Bonnet Bay.

Canopy of Grey Mangroves (Avicennia marina) River Mangroves (Aegisceras corniculatum), Samphire (Sarcocornia quinqueflora), Seablites (Suaeda australis), Sea Rush (Juncus kraussii)


The largest beds are located in Quibray Bay, Woolooware Bay, and off Silver Beach, Kurnell. Small pockets of both species are present in the Hacking River and Port Hacking, and stands of Zostera are found in the Georges River as far upstream as Alfords Point. Seagrass will not usually be found in our waterways at depths greater than 3 metres as, given the water quality, light penetration is not adequate beyond this depth.

Only 2 species; Zostera capricorni and Posidonia australis.

SSC, State of the Environment Report 1996

While none of the above habitat types have been lost from the Sutherland Shire, there have been substantial losses of each type of habitat since European occupation. Some have been harder hit than others, particularly the ridgetop communities, which have been extensively developed for urban and industrial uses, and estuarine communities which were extensively filled for playing fields and landfills.

2.3 Habitat Protection Legislation
Protection for habitats is provided under several pieces of legislation.
The Environmental Planning and Assessment Act (EP&A Act) (1979) as modified by the Threatened Species Conservation Act (1995), requires consideration of the impact of development proposals and planning on scenic quality, threatened species, populations and ecological communities, and other indirect impacts such as soil erosion.
Habitat for endangered species is protected under the Threatened Species Conservation Act (1995).
SEPP 19 - Bushland in Urban Areas, provides protection for remnant bushland in urban areas of the Shire, which are zoned as “open space” or are adjacent to areas zoned as open space. The SEPP recognises the need to retain bushland, and protect and preserve bushland from adjacent development. These impacts must be taken into consideration when assessing development in these areas.
A Tree Preservation Order (TPO) is in force throughout the Sutherland Shire. Under the TPO permission must be gained from Council to removal or damage trees and bushland.
Clause 24 of the Sutherland Shire Local Environmental Plan 1993, provides protection to bushland, in a similar manner to that of SEPP 19. It requires consideration of a number of impacts on bushland, in the assessment of developments in residential zoned land.
A Plan of Management for Natural Areas has been formulated by Council under the Local Government Act (1993). This Plan of Management outlines objectives, management strategies and activities that are permissible within public lands.

More land has been cleared in Australia in the past 50 years than in the preceding 150 years.

DEST 1995

2.4 Council’s Role
There are a number of actions and tasks that Council may implement to conserve the range of habitats within the Shire.

Action 1.

Develop and maintain an accurate inventory of habitat types within the Sutherland Shire.
* Identify and obtain relevant existing databases, eg soils, vegetation, asset management studies.
* Identify data gaps in existing databases.
* Initiate required studies, and build upon existing databases. Information should include, habitat size, location, type and condition and species inventories.
* Identify habitats of conservation significance, including critical habitat for threatened species.
* Map the areas of significant habitat identified above.
* Update database on a regular basis (minimum yearly, to coincide with State of the Environment Report).

Action 2.

Identify key processes and actions that threaten the long term viability of various habitat types within the Shire.
* Examine historical trends in areas of habitat types, to identify threatened habitat types, or those that have suffered the greatest loss.
* Identify the threatening processes, ie urbanisation, pollution.
* Prioritise the threatening processes for ameliorative action, based on magnitude of identified impact, viability of impacted habitats, environmental benefit, and cost to the community.

In the Sydney region about 80% of coastal saltmarsh has been lost since European settlement.

NSW EPA 1995

Action 3.

Develop management policies and practices that promote the conservation of a range of habitat types, and ameliorate or eliminate processes that threaten these habitats.
* Develop a generic plan of management for natural areas under Council’s care control or management.
* Develop specific plans of management for significant habitat areas under Council’s care, control or management.
* Provide appropriate statutory protection for habitat types within the Sutherland Shire.
* Ensure adequate ecological assessment of development proposals and rezonings in natural areas.
* Investigate the potential for land swaps, to obtain areas of significant habitat in private ownership.
* Develop a Landscape Development Control Plan that encourages maintenance and preservation of habitats in urban areas.
* Enforce Council’s Tree Preservation Order.
* Propagate endemic plants at Council’s nursery, for use in Council planting programs and supply to the community.
* Continue to identify and recommend areas for dedication as marine, or intertidal protection zones.
* Maximise opportunities for endemic street tree planting in accordance with Council’s Urban Tree Policy.
* Appropriately manage weeds in areas of Council care, control or management.
* Ensure that Council staff are adequately trained or informed of potential impacts of their work on the environment, and are aware of their obligations under various environmental legislation.
* Develop Stormwater Management Guidelines that minimise the impact of stormwater discharge on aquatic and bushland environments.
* Investigate cat controls and regulations to minimise native animal predation.

Action 4.

Encourage community participation in the protection, restoration and conservation of habitat types within the Shire.
* Promote community involvement in the restoration and management of habitat types through programs such as Bushcare, through provision of appropriate materials, advice, staff, training and other resources.
* Make information on habitat types and values available to the public through the State of the Environment Report, and other educational material, and displays.
* Promote the value of various habitat types through education and advice on weed control, appropriate garden planting, habitat value of bush rock and dead trees, and the impact of rubbish dumping.
* Education of builders and developers to achieve better control of sedimentation from building sites.

3.1 Objectives
* To protect existing wildlife corridors and vegetation links with other bushland.
* To establish a viable network of corridors linking areas of bushland.
* To increase the effective population size of bushland reserves through a network of linking corridors.
* To encourage and promote community involvement and cooperation in the management of wildlife corridors.

3.2 Habitat Corridors in the Sutherland Shire
Much of the bushland of the Sutherland Shire does not exist in isolation. It is connected to other areas of bushland to some degree by a series of vegetated links. They may include public and private bushland, gardens, creekline vegetation or street trees. These links or corridors enable animals to interact and allow access to larger breeding groups. They allow animals to recolonise areas following disturbances such as fire in bushland areas. Habitat corridors also contribute to plant biodiversity as animals are often the agents of seed and pollen dispersal.

Major Habitat Corridors of the Sutherland Shire

* Bushland link between Royal National Park, Garrawarra State Recreation Area and the bushland of the Illawarra.
* Bushland link between Royal National Park, Heathcote National Park, Holsworthy Military Area, Sydney Water Catchment, and the bushland of Wedderburn and the south west.
* Bushland link along the Woronora River Valley linking Heathcote and Georges River National Parks.
* Bushland linking Woronora Valley with West Menai, and Holsworthy Military Area
* Sydney Water land linking Woronora Valley and Forbes Creek.
* Wetland Corridor linking Woolooware Bay, Weeny Bay and Quibray Bay.
* Several smaller corridors along foreshore areas and creeklines.

Sutherland Shire Council 1995
Very little information is available on the movement of fauna throughout the Sutherland Shire. However it can be assumed that all bushland linkages will provide a corridor of some sort. Disjointed linkages may also form corridors for the movement of more mobile species such as birds.

3.3 Legislation Protecting Habitat Corridors
There is no specific legislation that provides protection for habitat corridors. However some protection is provided in legislation designed to protect urban bushland generally, such as SEPP 19 and Clause 24 (SSLEP).
Clause 24 of the Sutherland Shire Local Environment Plan 1993, requires that approval not be given for developments that have an adverse impact on wildlife corridors and vegetation links with adjacent areas of bushland.

The rate of native vegetation clearance in Australian in 1990 was more than half that cleared in the Brazillian Amazon.

DEST 1995

3.4 Council’s Role
There are a number of actions and tasks that Council may implement to conserve and protect habitat corridors within the Sutherland Shire.
Action 1.

Develop and maintain an accurate inventory of the habitat corridors within and through the Sutherland Shire, including species usage patterns.

* Identify, obtain and map any existing information.
* Identify data gaps in existing databases.
* Undertake required studies to complete database. Information should include size, location, condition and habitat or vegetation type, as well as an inventory of species utilising the corridor.
* Map the location and extent of the corridors identified above.
* Update database on a regular basis (minimum yearly to coincide with State of the Environment Report).

Action 2.

Identify opportunities for the establishment of corridors to link disjointed areas of bushland.
* Identify existing habitat corridors of greatest conservation significance.
* Identify isolated areas of bushland not adequately serviced by habitat corridors.
* Determine species likely to benefit from linking of the isolated bushland.
* Identify barriers to faunal movement through potential corridors.
* Identify minimum requirements for establishment of vegetated links between isolated areas of bushland to facilitate the movement of these species.

Action 3.

Develop management policies and practices that promote the conservation of habitat corridors.
* Ensure that areas of significant habitat corridor value are appropriately zoned or identified in other planning instruments (eg. DCPs).
* Investigate the potential for land swaps to obtain areas of potential significant habitat corridor value in private ownership.
* Ensure that ecological assessments address the potential habitat corridor value of bushland for developments and rezonings in natural areas.
* Maximise the potential for endemic street tree planting corridors and potential corridors in accordance with Council’s Urban Tree Policy.
* Appropriately manage weeds and feral animals in areas under Council’s care control and management.
* Develop incentives and strategies for encouraging owners to appropriately manage private land identified as corridors.

Action 4.

Encourage community participation in the protection, restoration and conservation of habitat corridors within and through the Sutherland Shire.
* Promote community involvement in the restoration and management of habitat corridors through programs such as Bushcare, through provision of appropriate materials, advice, staff, training and other resources.

* Make information on the location extent of usage and importance of habitat corridors available to the public through the State of the Environment Report, and other educational material and displays.

* Promote the value of habitat corridors through education and advice on weed control, appropriate garden planting, habitat value of bush rock, and the impact of rubbish dumping.


4.1 Objectives
* To prevent the extinction and promote the recovery of threatened species and communities.
* To protect the critical habitat of threatened species and communities.
* To eliminate or manage processes that threaten the survival and development of threatened species and communities.
* To ensure that the impacts of any action affecting threatened species and communities is properly assessed.
* To encourage community involvement and cooperation in the management of threatened species and communities.

4.2 The Shire’s Threatened Species
The Shire has a significant number of threatened fauna species, with over 50 threatened animals occurring in the Sutherland Shire. Many of these have not been observed for a number of years, such as the Tiger Quoll (Dasyurus maculatus), which was last observed in the Royal National Park in 1984. In contrast to this, new species are being located, such as the Tinkling Frog (Crinia tinula), which was recorded for the first time in the Shire in early 1996.
There is also a range of threatened flora species, with over 56 protected and regionally significant species occurring in the Shire. The term Rare or Threatened Australian Plants (ROTAP) generally refers to plants protected under National or State legislation. Regionally significant plants refer to those species that may be adequately preserved elsewhere in the State but are rare or uncommon in this region. Conservation of these species is important if the biological diversity of the Shire is to be maintained. While ROTAP species may generally rely on legislative protection, regionally significant plants rely on local environmental planning instruments for protection.

ROTAP Species of the Sutherland Shire






Acacia bynoeana


Heath & woodland on sandstone

Heathcote, RNP

Acacia pubescens


Exposed ridge tops on Wianamatta shale

Barden Ridge

Bertya brownii


Sheltered sandstone gullies

Mill Cr

Boronia serrulata



RNP, Heathcote NP

Darwinia diminuta


Ridgetop woodland with ironstone influence

Engadine, Heathcote, Woronora Hts, RNP, Heathcote NP

Darwinia grandiflora


Ridgetop heath & woodland

Holsworthy MA, RNP, WBCA

Eucalyptus camfeldii


Exposed sandstone ridges


Eucalyptus leuhmanniana


Exposed sandstone ridges

Engadine, Heathcote, Heathcote NP, Holsworthy MA, Woronora Hts, WBCA

Grevillea longifolia


Along creek banks

Woronora Valley, Mill Cr, Heathcote Cr

Hibbertia nitida


Sheltered sandstone gullies

Gymea Bay, Holsworthy MA, Woronora Valley, Still Cr, WBCA

Leucopogon exolasius


Sheltered dry sandstone slopes

Heathcote NP, Woronora Valley, Holsworthy MA

Lomandra fluviatilis


Rocky creek beds

Heathcote Cr, Woronora River, RNP

Melaleuca deanei


Sandstone ridges in heath & woodland

RNP, Heathcote NP, WBCA, Holsworthy MA, West Menai

Monotoca ledifolia



Heathcote NP, RNP, Woronora Hts, Waterfall

Persoonia hirsuta


Exposed sandstone ridges

Jannali, RNP

Platysace stephensonii



Cronulla, RNP

Prostanthera densa



Cronulla, RNP

Rulingia hermanniifolia



Botany Bay NP, RNP

Syzygium paniculatum


Littoral rainforest

Towra Pt, Cronulla

Tetratheca neglecta


Heath, woodland & open forest

Barden Ridge, Illawong, Jannali, Loftus, Menai, Woronora Heights, RNP, Heathcote NP, Holsworthy MA, WBCA

Thysanotus virgatus


Open forest on sandstone


Plant Codes:


1 Known from type collection only

2 Geographic range < 100km

3 Geographic range > 100km


E Endangered (at risk of disappearing in 1 or 2 decades)

V Vulnerable (at risk of disappearing in 20 - 50 years)

R Rare (rare in Australia but currently not endangered or vulnerable)

K Poorly known


C Population reserved

a Adequately reserved (>1000 plants)

i Inadequately reserved (<1000 plants)

- Adequacy of reservation unknown

Source: Briggs, J.D. & Leigh J.H. Rare or threatened Australian plants.

Updated annually in the SOE for the Sutherland Shire.

Locally Significant Plant Species of the Sutherland Shire





Acacia rubida


Protected sandstone benches

Grays Pt, Gymea Bay, Jannali, Woronora Valley, RNP

Acianthus caudatus


Protected sandstone benches

Gymea Bay, Lilli Pilli Pt, Grays Pt, Jannali, RNP

Allocasuarina dimimuta ssp diminuta


Heath & woodland

West Menai

Angophora costata x hispida


Heath & woodland

West Menai

Angophora floribunda


Moist valleys, deep soil

Woronora Valley, RNP

Astrotricha latifolia


Sheltered gullies near streams

West Menai

Blechnum indicum


Freshwater swamps


Boronia floribunda


Sheltered moist places in woodland


Cassine australis


Subtropical rainforest

Lilli Pilli Pt, RNP

Caustis recurvata var hirsuta


Dry sandy soil in heath


Caladenia caerulea


Forest & scrub

Sutherland, RNP

Caladenia picta


Woodland on sandstone

Illawong, Jannali

Caleana major


Exposed sunny sandstone ridges

Engadine, Jannali, Woronora Valley, RNP

Callistemon subulatus


Rocky creek banks

Woronora Valley, Heathcote NP

Callitris muelleri


Rocky gully sides

Gymea, Woronora Hts, Heathcote NP

Chiloglottis trilabra


Sheltered damp gullies on sandstone


Celtis paniculata


Moist forest

Lilli Pilli Pt, Grays Pt, RNP

Cupaniopisi anacardioides


Littoral rainforest

Kurnell, Bundeena, Cronulla, Lilli Pilli Pt, Burraneer Pt, RNP

Cyclosorus interuptus


Freshwater swamps

WBCA, Woronora Valley, Still Cr

Cyrtostylis reniformis


Dark shady places in sandy soils

Gymea Bay, Grays Pt

Dendrobium speciosum


Lithophyte, cliffs and rock ledges

Burraneer Pt, Grays Pt, RNP

Dendrobium teretifolia


On swamp oak or rocks

Illawong, RNP

Dillwynia parvifolia


Open forest on dry clay soils


Dipodium punctatum


Dry sandy soils

Caringbah, RNP

Diuris sulphurea


Dry clay soils

Jannali, Lucas Hts

Endiandra sieberi


Rainforest on sandy soil

Gymea Bay, Cronulla, RNP

Epacris crassifolia


Rocky cliff faces

Burraneer Pt

Erythrorchis cassythoides


Woodland adjacent to rainforest

West Menai

Eucalyptus consideniana


Exposed heaths on sandy soil

Engadine RNP

Eucalyptus longifolia


Heavy alluvial soils


Eucalyptus multicaulis


Mallee, rocky, poorly drained sandstone ridges

Woronora Hts, RNP

Eucalyptus obstans


Burraneer Pt, RNP

Eucalyptus saligna


Wet woodlands on shale ridges, or alluvial valleys

East Heathcote, RNP

Eucalyptus squamosa


Lateritic tops

Kareela, Loftus, Yarrawarrah, Woronora Hts, RNP

Eupomatia laurina


Subtropical rainforest

RNP, Turriel Bay

Euroschinus falcata


Subtropical rainforest

Gymea Bay, Grays Pt, RNP

Ficus superba var henneana


Subtropical rainforest

Dolans Bay, Grays Pt, RNP

Ghania aspera


Sandy soils enriched with clay

Menai, RNP

Gompholobium pinnatum


Heath & woodland on sandstone

Gymea Bay, RNP

Gonocarpus tetragynus




Grevillea diffusa x sericea


Sandstone heaths

West Menai

Guioa semiglauca


Subtropical rainforest

Burraneer Pt, Lilli Pilli Pt, RNP

Legnephora moorei


Subtropical rainforest

Lilli Pilli Pt, RNP

Lepospermum parvifolium


Dry heath & woodland


Linum marginale


Grasslands on clay

Kirrawee, Menai

Liparis reflexa


Rocks in humid gullies

Grays Pt, Gymea Bay, Lilli Pilli, Still Cr, Lucas Hts, RNP

Lomandra micrantha ssp tubercula


Cool damp areas in woodland


Maclura cochinchinensis


Edge of rainforest

Towra Pt, RNP, Lilli Pilli Pt

Microtis uniflora


Swampy ground

Lucas Hts

Mirbelia speciosa


Heath & woodland

RNP, WBCA, Woronora Valley, Still Cr

Olearia tomentosa


Shady gullies & seaside cliffs

Woronora Valley, RNP

Ottelia ovalifolia


Slow moving creeks

Mill Cr

Peperomia tetraphylla


Subtropical rainforest

RNP, Bundeena

Polyscias elegans


Humid woodland & rainforest

RNP, Lilli Pilli Pt

Prasophyllum elatum


Marshy heath to dry forest

Yarrawarrah, Jannali

Prostanthera saxicola


Sheltered woodland

West Menai

Pseudanthus pimeliodes


Along creek banks

RNP, Woronora Valley

Pterostylis acuminata


Sheltered sandy soil

Burraneer Pt

Pterostylis erecta


Sheltered woodland

Burraneer Pt, Caringbah

Pterostylis pedunculata


Ferny gullies

Lilli Pilli Pt

Rapanea howittiana


Subtropical rainforest

Yowie Bay, Lilli Pilli Pt, RNP

Rulingia dasyphylla


Clay ridge tops


Sarcomeliope simplcifolia


Subtropical rainforest

Lilli Pilli Pt

Schizomeria ovata


Subtropical rainforest

Gymea Bay, Miranda, RNP

Stenocarpus salignus


Subtropical rainforest gullies

Woronora Valley, RNP

Synoum glandulosum


Moist sheltered gullies

Dolans Bay, Cronulla, Burraneer Bay, Maianbar, RNP, Botany Bay NP

Thelymitra carnea


Moist, sunny heathland

Jannali, Prince Edward Park

Thelymitra nuda


Heath & woodland

Lucas Hts

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